In a moment Robin stepped quickly upon the bridge where the stranger stood; first he made a feint, and then delivered a blow at the stranger's head that, had it met its mark, would have tumbled him speedily into the water.
Oh, in the flood and floating adown with the tide," cried Robin, nor could he forbear laughing himself at his sorry plight.
Why, marry," answered jolly Robin, "yon stout fellow hath tumbled me neck and crop into the water and hath given me a drubbing beside.
cried Robin, laughing until his sore sides ached again.
Now by my faith," said Robin, "thou art a right saucy varlet, sirrah; yet I will stoop to thee as I never stooped to man before.
Then have I gained a right good man this day," quoth jolly Robin.
Then Robin Hood and all his band laughed aloud until the stranger began to grow angry.
Nay, good friend," said Robin Hood, "bottle thine anger, for the name fitteth thee well.
Here stood a great oak tree with branches spreading broadly around, beneath which was a seat of green moss where Robin Hood was wont to sit at feast and at merrymaking with his stout men about him.
Then Robin took this sweet, pretty babe, clothed him all anew from top to toe in Lincoln green, and gave him a good stout bow, and so made him a member of the merry band.
And thus it was that Robin Hood became outlawed; thus a band of merry companions gathered about him, and thus he gained his right-hand man, Little John; and so the prologue ends.